"Business casual" has become so accepted that even the most shattered symbol of the Wall Street power – Goldman Sachs – has surrendered to it. So, what does acceptable professional attire mean these days?
NEW YORK (AP) – Goldman Sachs set a poll for his Twitter account and asked what employees should wear now, as the investment bank has relaxed their dress code.
The winning election? "Hoodie and sneakers" of 38 percent. But "dress" came in a solid second place of 28 percent. At least popular was the "midtown uniform", a look so ubiquitous that it has its own Instagram account.
The Tuning-in-cheek survey pointed to a question of moving jobs at a time when business casual ̵[ads1]1; whatever it means – has been so accepted that even the most shattered symbols of Wall Street power have surrendered to it. The 150-year-old company sent an internal note this week, announcing that the time was right "to move to fixed flexible dress code", while encouraging their 36,000 employees to "exercise good judgment in this regard."
"It can be pretty scary because what is acceptable and what is appropriate to carry on is not an easy question to answer. A suit? It's simple," said Chris Bossola, CEO of Need Supply Co ., a clothing and lifestyle store based in Richmond, VA. , a retail and fashion consulting firm. It was quickly rooted in the growth of West Coast tech giants such as Amazon and Facebook and their young moguls.
"Goldman was one of the last holdouts of a more formal dress code," Burke said.
The episode was a living reminder that jeans will not do in any environment. However, Wall Street companies have had to come up with the program as they compete with technological giants for young workers who are comfortable with the stupid suit and attach to most professional settings.
Goldman Sachs first got off his dress code for his technology and digital department employees in 2017. The extension of the rest of the workforce's policy cited Goldman's "firm philosophy and the changing nature of the work change." The change comes three years after the country's largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, adopted its own flexible clothing policy.
Dress code is symbolic of a deeper cultural transformation of financial firms, who try to project themselves as innovation hubs where individuality and autonomy are emphasized. Goldman, who says a quarter of his employees work in engineering-related roles, has an internal incubator to allow employees to develop ideas. J. P. Morgan Chase plans to open a financial technology campus in the California Bay Area.
The tone is set from the top. Goldman Sach CEO David Solomon, who likes to emphasize his sidewalk as a DJ, has been known to show tieless at formal events, featuring chief executives in JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup.
Of course, business informal conversation is often around men, probably because the economy remains male-dominated at the top level. Men held nearly 80 percent of top-level and executive positions in US investment banks and securities dealers in 2015, according to an analysis prepared by Catalyst, an organization promoting women in the workplace.
Women have also long had a more complicated calculation than men when it comes to workwear attire.
Jennifer Hyman, CEO of Rent-the-Runway, reminded Goldman Sachs of that in a tweet that cautiously nodded the investment bank for its male centering.
In fact, the rise of business coincidence coincides with the emergence of fashion-tech companies designed to make shopping easier for women tired of investing so much time in deciding what to wear – helping them get up with his own go to "uniform".  Last month, Goldman Sach's rental box was rented at his headquarters in Manhattan, shortly after Solomon suggested it during a public conversation with Hyman about the company's similar initiative at WeWork Offices.  Ariel Schur, CEO of recruitment firm ABS Staffing Solutions, said she is getting more questions from men today about how to dress up job interviews and meetings, a conversation that has long-burdened women.
"Boys have always been able to wear the same suit, change their ties and shirt," Schur said. "You must be more cognitive" as a woman.
So, what does acceptable professional attire mean these days?
"This is pretty much what we have on you," said Ed Silhan, a headline for an advertising technology firm, wearing black jeans and boots in downtown Manhattan. "Flip flops, or playground sneakers – I'd stay away from it. You know, look up Nikes that you play basketball with. Just watch presentable."
Four years ago Barclays warned his employees not to wear jeans, flip-flops or T-shirts in the head office in London. Goldman Sachs encouraged his staff to keep their "wide and diverse client base around the world" when deciding what to wear, and JP Morgan Chase did so when it relaxed its rules three years ago.
"Midtown uniform" – slacks, buttonhole shirt and fleece vest – has become something of a retreat for men trying to navigate a more relaxed culture that is fertile for failures.
"It's yet another lazy solution," said Bossola of The Need Supply Co. "The worst case is that next Monday at Goldman Sachs, all employees have chinos and plaid shirts. The best part is that they make an effort to create a wardrobe that works for their industry."